Wondering the way to bring your business’s in-store experience online? An effective offline-to-online marketing strategy will help you engage with a larger customer base — without having to sacrifice any of your brand values.
However, the transition from in-person to online can be a difficult one to navigate, especially for brick-and-mortar brands.
In the following post, we’re sharing the important thing to successful offline-to-online marketing — as well as five tried-and-tested methods you can use to build your take your community online.
What is Offline-to-online Marketing?
“Offline-to-online marketing” is a term used to explain any activity that drives customers from a brand’s physical presence (i.e. brick-and-mortar stores) to digital choices (i.e a company website, or Instagram account).
When executed properly, offline to online marketing is a seamless experience — the consumer journey should be intuitive and in-keeping with a brand’s identity, from the visual design to the tone of voice you utilize.
And the advantages can be tenfold.
By creating both online and offline marketing methods, brands can offer much more touchpoints to their customers — which ultimately drive higher engagement and sales.
Here are five ways you should use to successfully transition customers from offline to online:
- Host a Virtual Event
- Create an At-Home Experience
- Go Live with Your Audience
- Create a Branded Hashtag
- Create an Exclusive Online Membership
#1: Host a Virtual Event
Virtual events have seen an increase in popularity over the last 12 months, with the COVID-19 pandemic prompting brands to seek out new, creative methods to bring their communities together.
While it’s true that in-person events are an amazing tool for building community, virtual events can reach a wider audience — no plane ticket or hotel stay required.
For example, at Later, they host an annual digital conference, LaterCon, which connects and educates attendees on a lot larger scale than would be possible with an in-person event.
Nevertheless, frequent, smaller-sized events can be a nice tactic for reaching new audiences as well.
For instance, Create and Cultivate — a conference once synonymous with in-person events — shifted its marketing technique to cater to a digital landscape.
Creating weekly conversational series on Instagram Live and integrating sponsored events online discussing topics like financing, Create and Cultivate successfully provide valuable content digitally.
#2: Create an At-home Experience
When you have a service-based business, creating an at-home kit for your customers to “DIY” could be another income for your brand.
For instance, if your business is a bar, making a cocktail kit that’s delivered to your customer’s doorstep is an effective way to win over those who choose an evening at home, but don’t want to miss a perfect cup of crafted cocktail.
Or take Shop Good Co — another nice instance of a brand bringing an in-store experience to customer’s homes.
The San Diego-based clear beauty company gives an At Home Facial kit for those who can’t indulge in the in-person service. Plus, it makes for an amazing gift that can be purchased online year-round.
With a bit of creativity in repackaging goods and services, your brand can easily provide the most effective of both worlds to a good wider range of customers.
#3: Go Live With Your Audience
Instagram Live is an effective way to directly connect with your followers and build a stronger bond by answering real-time questions and comments.
Plus, you’ll be able to easily save your Instagram Live to IGTV once you’re done, making it a valuable piece of content with an even longer shelf life.
Lululemon, the yoga-inspired athletic apparel company, goes past simply promoting exercise garments and makes use of Instagram Dwell as a chance to give back to their Instagram community with free yoga classes.
And when it comes to going live, Instagram isn’t the one platform to join in — brands like e.l.f. Cosmetics have been going live on TikTok, with influencer takeovers hosting makeup challenges and inspiring their followers to join in too.
#4: Create a Branded Hashtag
Hashtags can easily be overlooked, but when it comes to community engagement, they can be your mate.
By making a branded hashtag, your customers can connect over a typical interest (like your products or services!) while also providing your business with user-generated content!
For instance, Aerie has built an inclusive community surrounding their hashtag #aeriereal, which promotes untouched photos of their customers wearing their gear. The one hashtag has garnered nearly 330,000 posts.
Having a brand-owned hashtag is a surefire method to appeal to new followers, make sales, and convert your existing audience into customers.
#5: Create an Exclusive Online Membership
Online memberships are an incredible method to make customers feel like VIPs whereas creating a recurring income for your brand.
For instance, the crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder holds exclusive podcast content and merch for members of their fan club, incentivizing fans to pay an annual subscription to get access and engage with other fellow podcast listeners.
DIY Lifestyle brand Brit + Co also provides a monthly membership that offers users unlimited access to all of their creative online courses at once, rather than having to individually purchase and access programs one at a time.
So while many brands are shifting back to in-person events, it’s essential not to neglect to host online experiences, too. After all, community building occurs on-screen and off.
By marketing your business online and offline, you’ll amass twice your customer’s needs and create a lot of brand awareness — it’s a win-win!